A Different Way of Steam Bending

Questions about tools and jigs you want to buy/build/modify.
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Brett Sloma
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Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:47 pm

A Different Way of Steam Bending

Post by Brett Sloma »

https://www.facebook.com/longfellowguit ... 118616938/

Steam bending ukulele sides. Steam is brought right to the mold/bender. Then the piece is removed and clamped.

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Not that different than a Fox style bender, but I personally haven't seen anything quite like this, so thought I'd share. So far, so good.

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DJ Parker
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Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:05 pm
Location: Jacksonville, Fl.

Re: A Different Way of Steam Bending

Post by DJ Parker »

Well, that is an innovative way to do this and it saves on having different jigs and steam boxes.

My only two thoughts would be: 1. I might use multiple rows (say 3) of steam outlets to provide steam across the entire side as opposed to just centered, and 2. What would be the best material to make the steam form from that wouldn't warp or get too soaked (redwood? aluminum?) although that one looks pretty sturdy. Also, what about condensate?

Anyway, thank you for sharing!

DJ

Brian Evans
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Location: Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Re: A Different Way of Steam Bending

Post by Brian Evans »

Is the inside/outside mold in the fifth picture a drying/cooling press? All of the forms need to be exact versions of each other, I imagine.

Brett Sloma
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Re: A Different Way of Steam Bending

Post by Brett Sloma »

DJ Parker wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:16 am
Well, that is an innovative way to do this and it saves on having different jigs and steam boxes.

My only two thoughts would be: 1. I might use multiple rows (say 3) of steam outlets to provide steam across the entire side as opposed to just centered, and 2. What would be the best material to make the steam form from that wouldn't warp or get too soaked (redwood? aluminum?) although that one looks pretty sturdy. Also, what about condensate?

Anyway, thank you for sharing!

DJ
Good comments and questions-

I planned to add more holes, but decided to do a test run with the single row, knowing I could easily add more later. It seems to be enough! The whole process is taking about 15-20 minutes tops.

My first steam form, without really planning it as such, did self destruct rather quickly. This is the second version, using a different design, with epoxy and the bolts. I totally agree with you, and I hope that it lasts as I'm not crazy about the idea making these over and over. Maybe my next one I'll make of cedar.

Not sure what you mean by "Also, what about condensate?"

Brett Sloma
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Re: A Different Way of Steam Bending

Post by Brett Sloma »

Brian Evans wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:24 am
Is the inside/outside mold in the fifth picture a drying/cooling press? All of the forms need to be exact versions of each other, I imagine.

Yes, it seems to need to be clamped overnight for best results. The outside form is essentially half of a building form. In hindsight I would have just built the complete building form and skipped making this "half" one. But I didn't know exactly where this was all headed in various ways, so this is how it went.

Yeah, it's a fair amount of work making these things, but the payoff (if it all works) is consistent, repeatable results.

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DJ Parker
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Location: Jacksonville, Fl.

Re: A Different Way of Steam Bending

Post by DJ Parker »

Steam1 - Copy.JPG[/attachment]Thank you,

What I meant about condensate was that as the steam cools, moisture forms and goes somewhere (as I'm sure you know) so you may end up with a puddle below the jig. Maybe a little tray below or by setting the whole assembly in a shallow baking pan to catch the drips would avoid it.

Or maybe there isn't much condensate at all since the whole thing is out in the open.... ;)

Either way, very neat!

My steam chambers use the traditional approach and much more cumbersome although for Ukulele's they would be much smaller.
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Steam1 - Copy.JPG

Brett Sloma
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Re: A Different Way of Steam Bending

Post by Brett Sloma »

DJ Parker wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:23 pm
Steam1 - Copy.JPG[/attachment]Thank you,

What I meant about condensate was that as the steam cools, moisture forms and goes somewhere (as I'm sure you know) so you may end up with a puddle below the jig. Maybe a little tray below or by setting the whole assembly in a shallow baking pan to catch the drips would avoid it.

Or maybe there isn't much condensate at all since the whole thing is out in the open.... ;)

Either way, very neat!

My steam chambers use the traditional approach and much more cumbersome although for Ukulele's they would be much smaller.
Oh, right. I saw your steam chambers and they look awesome. Admittedly I didn't actually set out initially to make this, but it just kind of developed as I went. Initially I put down some old plywood (on my benchtop) and then a piece of aluminum flashing, but no, there really wasn't a problem with water dripping or pooling.

To one of your previous comments, I had a thought just a bit ago -- make the forms out of sheet copper, with copper pipes to add some rigidity and structure, and solder it all together. We'll see.

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DJ Parker
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Re: A Different Way of Steam Bending

Post by DJ Parker »

The sketch is a bit off but, I wonder if this would work? ;)
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Fred Battershell
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Re: A Different Way of Steam Bending

Post by Fred Battershell »

Wouldn't a silicone-rubber heating strip work? Much less messy than steam, but somewhat more expensive(initially)than steam.

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